History, Research

Genealogy and DNA

Welcome back everyone! Today’s topic I find to be very popular and interesting depending on your perspective. DNA testing has blown up in the last few years through services like AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or FamilyTreeDNA. These are all great ways to get a more graphic picture of your ancestry. I myself got a testing kit from 23andMe for a Christmas present and was excited to see what it said about my ancestry. I found out a lot of information that I was really surprised about and some that only confirmed what I already knew.

Many have apprehension when considering sending their DNA to some third party organization which will have your genetic sample and information on their records. I had my own misgivings when I first thought about it, but curiosity gave way to paranoia. I share my thoughts with this post “DNA and Paranoia” as it is a very rational explanation of what to expect. I was also introduced to an interesting story involving law enforcement and DNA testing found here. We must always weigh the risk and reward based on our personal beliefs. I think recreational DNA testing will have a complex future as more revelations are made.

Some things that DNA testing can reveal include country of origin percentages (You can finally admit grandma wasn’t 100% Sicilian!), genetic markers for physical traits and diseases, and even connect with DNA relatives who also were tested with the same service. I know I was contacted by individuals that the site believed were distant cousins. Talk about building a family tree! This aspect of genealogical research can have greater implications than searching for your great-great-grandfather’s military records. This has the potential to get others involved that you may not have known were in your family.

DNA testing also doesn’t have all the answers. They can’t claim to be 100% accurate and present information based on others that have contributed to their database. The more people, the clearer the results. Remember that we shouldn’t expect instant responses that answer all our questions (especially since these DNA tests can take months). This is only one more piece of the puzzle we are working on.

Some other places to explore if you are interested in more on this topic include
the Genetic Genealogist and DNAeXplained. There is so much more to ancestry and DNA testing that we are just scratching the surface here.

Any personal questions, comments, or requests for assistance can be made to me by email: rvoyles@lindenhurstlibrary.org

Disclaimer: Any links to outside sources shared by this blog do not represent the views of the Lindenhurst Memorial Library and are provided in good faith for general information purposes.

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